Live from Cleveland, Ohio, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1296 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Please check out TJRWrestling.net if you haven’t done so already. There’s a lot to do on the site such as checking out my review of every WrestleMania in the archives and you can always pick up a TJRWrestling t-shirt to support the site as well.

Raw began with a shot of the live crowd in Cleveland with Michael Cole welcoming us to the show. Brock Lesnar’s music hit to start the show.

Let’s Hear From Paul Heyman while Brock Lesnar stands beside him

Brock Lesnar, the Universal Champion, made his entrance with his advocate Paul Heyman by his side. Heyman started the promo by setting up the video package from last week’s Raw that saw Lesnar destroy Roman Reigns, who was handcuffed because he was suspended. Lesnar beat up Reigns with a steel chair, suplexes and a F5. When Reigns was on a stretcher, Lesnar shoved Reigns down.

Heyman said he had “breaking news” that the temporary suspension of Roman Reigns has been lifted. Heyman added that in other breaking news, Roman Reigns is not there.

Heyman talked about how Reigns was raised by his father Sika and his uncle Afa. Heyman said they raised Reigns to be a Samoan badass to compete, to fight, to wrestle, to win and it’s a shame they didn’t raise Reigns to be a man. Heyman said a man would be there tonight. Heyman talked about how Reigns said that he is there every week, he said that he was advertised and Reigns isn’t there two weeks before WrestleMania. Heyman said that if the beating went the other way, Lesnar would still have been there. Heyman told a long story to try to get to the point. I love Paul, but sometimes he rambles. Heyman did have a line in there about the “US Marshals” last week were really guys from a MMA gym, so it was designed to put over that Lesnar set Reigns up last week. Heyman said that Reigns is not man enough to take that Universal Title from Brock Lesnar. Heyman added that Reigns is not man enough to take another beating from Brock Lesnar. Heyman repeated that Reigns isn’t man enough to take the Universal Title from Brock Lesnar. Heyman said Lesnar’s name…and suddenly an interruption.

Roman Reigns walked into the arena by entering the back part of the arena and walking in by walking by fans in the crowd. Reigns got to the ringside area and Lesnar took him down with a clothesline while Reigns had a steel chair in his hand. Reigns shoved Lesnar into the ring post. Reigns picked up the steel chair and hit Lesnar in the back three times. Reigns went for a Superman Punch, but Lesnar caught him and Lesnar hit a belly to belly overhead suplex. Lesnar picked up the steel steps and nailed Reigns in the face with them. They went into the ring with Lesnar hitting Reigns in the head with the steel steps again. Lesnar hit Reigns in the back with the steel chair three more times. Some fans chanted “one more time” and cheered Lesnar hitting Reigns again with the chair.

Lesnar was about to leave as his music played, but he changed his mind. Lesnar picked up Reigns and hit a F5 onto the top of the steel stops, so Reigns went ribs first into the steps. Lesnar went into the ring, put the Universal Title on his shoulder and stood over a fallen Reigns. Lesnar pointed at the WrestleMania sign to tell Reigns that’s where they will meet. Lesnar’s music played, so Lesnar left with Heyman.

Analysis: It was similar to last week with Lesnar dominating Reigns. I thought last week’s segment was better probably because it happened first and it was fresh. This angle continued the story that Lesnar is a dominant champion that Reigns will have a tough time beating. It was done to try to get the fans to cheer Reigns and feel sympathetic towards him, but you could hear more fans cheering at Reigns getting beat up rater than the fans that were sad about happened. I understand WWE’s attempt, but it’s really not working because some fans are never going to want to cheer Reigns. Heyman’s promo was fine although it was more repetitive than normal. Good segment, but last week was better. I think their WrestleMania match should be a Street Fight or something to allow weapons based on their segments the last two weeks.

Later on Raw: John Cena vs. Kane in a No Disqualification Match. Also, Ronda Rousey will be on Raw. Nia Jax vs. Mickie James is up next.

(Commercial)

Reigns was shown limping away after the attack with Cole noting the difference this week is that he’s able to walk instead of leaving on a stretcher.

Replays aired of Lesnar’s attack on Reigns from before the break.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman talked about the Reigns/Lesnar situation.

Nia Jax made her entrance. They replayed the Jax face turn from two weeks ago with Alexa Bliss and Mickie James talking trash about her. The mean talk from the girls led to Jax getting a Raw Title match against Alexa Bliss at WrestleMania even though Jax lost to Asuka multiple times. Way to build up a contender, WWE.

Mickie James entered with Alexa Bliss to Alexa’s theme music. Can’t they play Mickie’s song for her match? Lame.

Nia Jax vs. Mickie James (w/Alexa Bliss)

Jax tossed James down, so James bailed to the floor. It went to break less than one minute into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Jax was still in control as she tossed James across the ring two times. James got in some offense with a hard slap to the face. James drew her out of the ring and hit a chop block to the back of the knee. Bliss taunted a fallen Jax. When Jax got back in the ring, James kicked her in the knee again. James with a running dropkick to the knee. Jax picked up James and slammed her down. Jax missed a running leg drop, so James hit a running kick for a two count. James wanted her a DDT, but Jax shoved her off. Jax charged in the corner, James moved and James kicked the knee again. James went up top, so Jax picked her up, put her on her shoulders and hit a Samoan Drop. Instead of covering right way, Jax went over to the side so that she’s facing the hard cam and Jax covered for the win after about seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nia Jax

Analysis: *1/2 It was okay. It’s tough getting used to Jax as a face because she’s not very good at selling moves and she’s limited with what she can do in there. The much bigger woman as the face against the smaller woman as a heel is tough to sell. Jax could have sold the leg a lot better. She ignored it too much. Mickie’s better in the ring than Bliss is too, so I don’t have high hopes for Bliss vs. Jax at all. I want it to be good. I just don’t see how they are going to put together a meaningful match.

After the match, Bliss got in a cheap shot. Jax went after her, so Bliss ran away and Jax was talking trash including saying “bitch” at one point. Bliss went to the back as Jax left.

Analysis: The “bitch” part was muted at least here in Canada.

A “Respect The Authority” video is up next.

(Commercial)

A WrestleMania video aired to tell us the event is 13 days away.

A video package aired about Triple H and Stephanie McMahon training for their WrestleMania match. They talked trash about Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey. Their trainer talked about how Triple H and Stephanie are exceeding the training of UFC and Olympic athletes. It must be nice to pay people to compliment you. Stephanie said that Ronda should be intimidated by her as clips of Stephanie boxing was shown. This is unintentionally hilarious. Triple H talked about how he’s been beating Angle up for years. Stephanie said the odds are against Kurt and Ronda. Triple H said that nobody comes into their world and takes them down. Stephanie said she’s a McMahon, so she is not scared by Rousey and that Rousey will simply work for her. Triple H said they are business people and Stephanie said they will humble Ronda Rousey the same way they will humble every other superstar in WWE.

Analysis: It was fine as a heel promo video to counter the Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey that they showed last week. They were over the top talking about their greatness like heels should do in a setting like that.

Ronda Rousey is still to come.

Cedric Alexander entered for a tag match to not much of a reaction because he’s in a tag match up next.

(Commercial)

The other cruiserweights were already in the ring to start the match.

Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali vs. TJP and Drew Gulak

The GM of 205 Live, Drake Maverick, joined commentary for this match. Cedric and Mustafa are facing eachother for the vacant Cruiserweight Title at WrestleMania.

TJP started with Ali and Gulak tagged in with a back body drop on Ali for a two count. Drake did a good job of putting over the wrestlers doing a great job in the ring. Ali jumped off the middle rope with an incredible DDT on Gulak that drew no reaction. Alexander got the hot tag against TJP with Alexander nailing a headscissors and a dropkick. Back elbow by Alexander on TJP. Alexander with a leaping kick to TJP’s head followed by a clothesline off the top by Alexander for two as Gulak broke up the pin. Ali dropkick sent Gulak out of the ring. Ali jumped over the top and barely grazed Gulak to knock him down. TJP rollup on Alexander got a two count. Alexander hit a cartwheel into a kick for two. Ali with a blind tag and Alexander hit a Lumbar Check on TJP. Ali with the 054 (reverse 450) for the pinfall win after four minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali

Analysis: *1/2 They tried hard and made the most of the time they were given, but the crowd barely reacted to it. There were cool moves from Alexander and Ali that should have drawn a reaction, but it didn’t happen. This was done to tell the basic story of Ali trying to outshine Alexander ahead of their WrestleMania match. It’s a basic storyline that WWE does all the time leading up to face vs. face matches.

Miz TV with guests Seth Rollins and Finn Balor up next. They did that a few weeks ago. They must be running out of fresh ideas.

A video aired about last week’s Smackdown showing Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens attacking Daniel Bryan, who was cleared to return to action last week. The question is can Daniel Bryan return to Smackdown this week?

(Commercial)

Miz TV

The Miz, the Intercontinental Champion, was in a suit in the ring with the IC Title on his shoulder. The fans were cheering while Miz reminded them that he lives in Los Angeles while the fans know Miz is from Cleveland.

The Miz talked to Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Miz lectured them that they let him down and if he wanted failure he never would have gone to LA, he would have stayed in Cleveland. (A lot of wrestlers come from Cleveland and none of them still live there. Shocking! Just saying.) That drew boos. Axel said he can count on them. Miz said for two weeks, he has been left down on this mat because they let him down. Bo said they are doing everything they can. Miz said he deserves better and told Bo to Bolieve himself back in catering because he would be nothing without him.

Seth Rollins made his entrance to join the Miz TV party. Rollins walked down to the ring offering to help mediate the Miz problems with the Miztourage. Rollins said the Miztourage was feeling underappreciated and asked Miz when was the last time he said thank you. Miz was shocked by what he was saying. Rollins said that without them, Miz wouldn’t be the IC Champion. Rollins started a “Miztourage” chant and the fans chanted it. Miz did his “hand goes up, your mouth goes shut” line. Miz said the Miztourage knows that he is grateful for them and they are grateful for Miz because he elevated their careers. Bo interrupted Miz and said Miz was a “phony A-lister that can’t fight.” Miz asked Bo what he just said. Finn Balor’s music hit to interrupt them.

Finn Balor walked out in his OG Balor Club shirt and he said just like Miz needed Seth’s help earlier, it looks like Miz needs Balor’s help now. Balor went into the ring. Balor was in his ring gear like Rollins did.

Balor clarified that Dallas said that Miz was the biggest jerk he had ever met. Dallas said no, so Balor continued and Dallas repeated himself saying he said Miz was a phony A-lister that can’t fight. Fans chanted “yes” for that. Miz told Bo to say it again. Bo tried to say it again, so Miz slapped the microphone out of his hand. Axel tried to calm Dallas down. Miz said he was trying to motivate them. Miz said the only thing they should focus on is that title and Miz is only 34 days away from the most days as Intercontinental Champion of All-Time. Miz said he’ll be better than Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels and better than Mr. Perfect. Long pause as Axel turned around because Mr. Perfect was his dad. Miz said it slipped as Axel stared at him. Miz wanted everybody to calm down. Miz said that Miz TV is now canceled. Fans chanted “yes” for that. Miz tried to leave, but Dallas stood in front of him and so did Axel. Rollins and Balor were laughing about it. Miz said nobody wants to see this. Dallas and Axel nailed Balor and Rollins with punches. Miz had a big grin on his face.

Miz worked over Balor with punches as the shaky camera was going wild. I hate the shaky camera. The announcers put over the brilliance of Miz in his plan. Miz set up for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows walked out for the save. Gallows and Anderson fought Axel and Dallas to the back.

Miz charged at Balor with the IC Title, but Balor avoided it and hit a Slingblade. Rollins went for a Stomp on Miz that didn’t work because Miz rolled to the floor. Rollins talked trash at Miz while he was on the floor. Balor picked up the IC Title in the ring. Rollins grabbed the IC Title from Balor. Miz went back in, Balor punched him and Rollins clotheslined Miz out of the ring. Balor hit Rollins with a punch to the head. Balor held up the IC Title and Rollins was down while Balor stood tall.

Analysis: It was a decent segment. Most of the promo was designed to make people think Miz had issues with his Miztourage guys, but it was obvious the whole thing was part of a plan. Gallows and Anderson watching Balor’s back was fine because the trio has been together for the last few months although they aren’t featured that much. Balor standing tall with the IC Title is how I think the WrestleMania match will go, but it could easily be Rollins in that spot as well. This feud has been set for a few weeks already. I don’t think this segment really helped or hurt the match at WrestleMania.

There were plugs for Cena vs. Kane and Ronda Rousey still to come. Asuka is up next.

(Commercial)

There was a promo from Kane in a darkened room with red light. Kane talked about how some demons want to rest in peace, so now Cena must suffer for his indiscretion. Kane said that Cena isn’t going to WrestleMania, he is going straight to hell.

Asuka made her entrance. She is facing Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania.

A woman named Jamie Frost was interviewed by Charly Caruso, who said that this is Jamie’s first match. Jamie said that Asuka isn’t ready for her.

Asuka vs. Jamie Frost

Frost started with forearms followed by a slap, so Asuka kicked her in the head and pinned her. The match went about 25 seconds.

Winner by pinfall: Asuka

Analysis: Match of the year! Just get Asuka to Smackdown. There’s nothing left for her on Raw.

The announcers talked about the Matt Hardy “Ultimate Deletion” win over Bray Wyatt. Graves ripped Cole for Cole complaining about the match last week. They showed Matt Hardy’s tweet criticizing Cole. They showed images from the Ultimate Deletion match. Cole complained about it while Graves loved it.

Matt Hardy was on the screen and did a promo about Ultimate Deletion being over. Hardy talked about being in the Andre the Giant battle royal at WrestleMania. My power went off briefly, so I missed the details, but caught up on WWE’s Twitter.

(Commercial)

The announcers talked about the first ever Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal. It’s not really the first ever battle royal for women at WrestleMania (the WrestleMania 25 battle royal was awful), but it’s a new tradition starting this year.

They showed images of last week with Sasha Banks and Bayley arguing last week leading to Sonya Deville beating Bayley.

Bayley and Sasha Banks were in the locker room talking about things. Banks told her to say whatever she needs to say. Bayley said that Banks loved that Bayley puts her first and lets her act like she is the legit boss. Banks said she is the boss and she does what she wants for herself and makes no apologies for it. Banks suggests Bayley does the same. Bayley said that Banks knows she can’t beat her. Banks noted she’s a 4-time Raw Women’s Champion, so Bayley asked how long she kept it. Banks slammed Bayley into the locker. Bayley fought back, but Banks sent her into another locker. They were fighting on a table. They were broken up by women along with agent Sarah Stock (Sarita from TNA). The referees had a tough time holding the women back, but eventually they broke them up.

Analysis: The issues continue between the best friends that have seen their friendship come to an end for now. I thought the brawling part was well done. The dialogue is cheesy and doesn’t sound natural when they talk. They got through it, though. I still think Banks is the one turning heel because Bayley may not be able to do it effectively.

Braun Strowman entered for a match against Sheamus since he faced Cesaro last week.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: I attended a WWE Raw live event in Kitchener, Ontario on Saturday and wrote about the experience from ringside. It was a fun time with nearly three hours full of action. I also wrote a blog about the 14 matches set to take place at WrestleMania where I ranked them in order from what I’m most excited about to what I’m least excited about.

Sheamus and Cesaro, the Raw Tag Team Champions, entered for a pre-match promo with Strowman in the ring. Cesaro mocked the “Braun” yell. Sheamus said that was scary. Sheamus said at WrestleMania there will be no surprises and they wanted to know who Strowman’s tag team partner is right now. Sheamus and Cesaro reminded us they don’t just set The Bar, they are The Bar.

Strowman told the “whiny babies” that if they want to know who his partner is then all Sheamus has to do is beat them. Sheamus said they want an answer right now. Strowman told Sheamus to get these hands as the match began.

Braun Strowman vs. Sheamus (w/Cesaro)

Strowman tossed Sheamus across the ring. Strowman charged at him, Sheamus moved and Sheamus sent Strowman over the top to the floor. Sheamus tried the forearms to the chest, but Strowman blocked that and hit a forearm to the chest that knocked Sheamus out of the ring. Sheamus went to the other side of the ring, stood on the apron and Strowman knocked him off the apron to send Sheamus into the barricade as the show went to break there.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Sheamus got in some offense with a DDT. Sheamus slapped on an armbar on the left arm of Strowman, but Strowman got back to his feet, tossed Sheamus down and Strowman hit two clotheslines leading to Sheamus bailing to the floor. Strowman ran over Sheamus with a shoulder tackle outside the ring. Strowman whipped Sheamus into the barricade while the announcers talked about how Strowman may have tweaked his knee early in the match. Strowman back in the ring, he missed a corner charge and hit the turnbuckle. Sheamus with a shoulder tackle for a one count. Strowman back elbow for Sheamus, punch for Cesaro, Sheamus with a Brogue Kick attempt didn’t work. Strowman picked up Sheamus and hit a Powerslam for the pinfall win after eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman

Analysis: ** The match was okay with a predictable outcome. Sheamus got in more offense than I thought. It was needed to help the match go a bit longer than a simple squash from Strowman.

Strowman celebrated by pointing at the WrestleMania sign while Sheamus and Cesaro left.

Analysis: It looks like the Strowman partner reveal will be at WrestleMania. It could be next week on Raw, but I think doing it at WrestleMania makes more sense. There are dozens of names that it could be. I don’t have a solid prediction yet. This news makes me think it will be Dean Ambrose because he was removed from WrestleMania Axxess at 10am Sunday (replaced by Sting and Ric Flair), which could definitely mean he’s ready to return to action. He was getting looked at by doctors recently for his arm injury. WWE said 9 months for his torn triceps in December, but they bullshit injury details all the time and he could be ready in 4 months. It’s possible he will be Strowman’s partner.

Ronda Rousey is up next.

(Commercial)

There were images shown of John Cena hosting the Kid’s Choice Awards. Michael Cole was way too excited talking about it. I’m too old for this and Cole is way too old for it.

Ronda Rousey In-Ring Segment

Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, made his entrance to complain about how he hasn’t been shown in a backstage segment where he’s looking at his phone. Okay so that didn’t happen, but it should.

Angle said we are two weeks away until WrestleMania, which means we are two weeks away from Stephanie McMahon and Triple H standing across the ring from Angle and his partner, the baddest woman on the planet, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.

Rousey made her entrance wearing the black leather jacket and black pants along with her Rousey shirt. Rousey got a nice reaction from the crowd. She entered the ring with Angle.

Angle said that after seeing Rousey’s hard work and determination for the last few weeks, it’s clear that Rousey is ready for WrestleMania. Angle said that Triple H and Stephanie mean that they mean it when they say they make the rules. Angle told Rousey it’s not going to be easy. Rousey said that she came there to earn everything she gets. Rousey said that Stephanie is “trust fund tough” and “limousine tough” as well as “personal trainer tough.” Rousey said that Stephanie is going to get what she deserves, which is Rousey ripping her arm out of its socket.

The Absolution trio of Paige, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose walked down to the ring. Paige introduced herself and her group while formally welcoming Rousey to Raw. Paige said that this is their show and “this is my house” even though she can’t wrestle anymore. That “this is my house” phrase has lost a lot of its meaning.

Paige said that Rousey grew up watching WWE and that’s great, but people there will take advantage of her. Paige said they are there if Rousey needs some backup. Rousey said she’s got an Olympic gold medalist (Angle) watching her back. Paige said that if you think Angle had your back then you wouldn’t be an enemy to Triple H and Stephanie. Paige said she understands the pressure. Paige told Rousey she could become the fourth member of Absolution. Fans chanted “no” to that idea.

Rousey said thank you to Paige for the offer, but Rousey told Paige “no” to the offer. Paige said Rousey could have had some friends, but unfortunately, she made some worst enemies. Deville put a hand on Rousey, so Rousey decked her with a clothesline. Rose went for a kick, Rousey caught her foot and Rousey hit an overhead suplex that sent Rose into Deville. Rose tried another attack, so Rousey flipped her over wit ha judo throw. Rousey wanted to break Rose’s arm, but Angle told her not to do it. Rousey let her go.

Analysis: The segment was fine with Rousey showing off some more offense this week than any week since she’s been on Raw. I think keeping Rousey away from Stephanie and Triple H for the last several weeks has been a mistake because they could have had more heat for the match if they had more segments together. The way it has gone so far has been okay, but it’s not that interesting. Using Mandy and Sonya to bump for Rousey is fine because somebody has to be there to put over Rousey in terms of taking bumps. Paige did a solid job with the promo trying to offer some advice to Rousey, but it didn’t work as expected. It was another promo on this show with an obvious outcome.

Replays aired of Lesnar attacking Reigns earlier in the night.

Still to come is Cena vs. Kane in a No DQ match.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson entered for a tag team match.

(Commercial)

The match started during the break.

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows vs. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas

Anderson hit a kick on Axel. Dallas distracted Anderson, so Axel shoved Anderson to the floor. Dallas with a knee to the face of Anderson against the barricade. Dallas slapped on a headlock on Anderson. Axel continued the offense from the heels with a dropkick. Axel hit a DDT and Dallas got back in there for the two count. The crowd was dead although some of them chanted “too sweet” as Anderson hit a spinebuster on Dallas. Gallows got the hot tag against Axel with two clotheslines. Gallows with a corner splash followed by a kick to the head. Gallows with a pumphandle slam and a running splash. Anderson tagged back in and Anderson hit the running Boot of Doom for two as Dallas broke up the pin attempt. Gallows decked Dallas with a superkick. Anderson with an uppercut on Axel. Anderson up top with a neckbreaker off the top rope. Gallows back in leading to the Magic Killer double team move for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows

Analysis: *1/2 It was just an average tag match that was not given a lot of time. When the guys are doing the hot tags three minutes into a match it’s not like there’s much time to tell a story. The Magic Killer is a good double team finisher. That’s about the best thing I can say about the match. The crowd was dead for this.

After the match, the lights flickered in the arena. It could be a sign of something to come…or it could be nothing.

They showed a tweet from Charlotte Flair talking about WrestleMania against Asuka.

Elias was shown walking backstage.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Mixed Match Challenge and the second semifinals: Finn Balor and Sasha Banks vs. Bobby Roode and Charlotte Flair. Winners move on to face Miz and Asuka in the finals. Check out my Mixed Match Challenge reviews here.

Elias was in the ring with his guitar asking who wants to walk with Elias, which drew cheers. Elias talked about how in 13 days the entire world will know that WWE stands for “Walk With Elias” leading to the crowd saying it twice. Elias talked about how last week he sold out Madison Square Garden in New York City, so you could imagine coming to Cleveland is a huge disappointment. The same promo he did in Kitchener on Saturday. Elias said LeBron James knows that and he’s going to leave them again. Elias said even though he didn’t want to be there, he did write a song. Elias told the fans to shut up so he could sing.

Elias did a song about WrestleMania on the horizon, but he’s stuck in this town and the only thing more embarrassing was if he was a Cleveland Brown. Fans booed. He had a good point. Elias said he is WWE again. Rhyno’s music interrupted the song.

Elias vs. Rhyno (w/Heath Slater)

Rhyno with a running shoulder tackle on Elias while Cole said Elias was tremendous and Graves ripped on the singing of Elias. Forearm to the back by Elias gave him control of the match with Graves pointing out that WWE was on tour of MSG and Elias didn’t sell it out. Elias missed an elbow drop. Rhyno with a clothesline followed by a back elbow. Elias got his knee up followed by a clothesline. Elias hit his Drift Away finisher for the pinfall win after two minutes. That didn’t look good at all.

Winner by pinfall: Elias

Analysis:  1/2* Bad match with a poor finish. The crowd was dead for it.

Post match, Elias attacked Heath Slater and hit a Drift Away on him. That one looked a lot better since Slater is lighter than Rhyno. Elias celebrated.

A video about John Cena is up next.

(Commercial)

The announcers talked about WrestleMania while showing graphics of the matches that will take place on April 8 in New Orleans. I’ve got the full lineup at the bottom of this post and I wrote a full column about my interest in the matches.

A video package aired about John Cena calling out The Undertaker for a WrestleMania match.

Cena vs. Kane in a No DQ match is up next.

(Commercial)

A video aired about WrestleMania 21 in 2005 with Edge winning the Money in the Bank ladder match.

Next week on Raw: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor. It feels like I reviewed it a few weeks ago.

Next week: Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle will have an in-ring face off with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. First time in one month. It was needed this week.

John Cena made his entrance to the usual loud reaction. He had a green towel in his hands from talk show host Ellen Degeneres that said, “Be kind to one another.” What about when Cena calls a guy a “coward” for not wanting to fight him? That’s not being kind!

Kane made his entrance for Raw. They shilled that tickets for Raw in Atlanta are still available. That’s not a good sign.

No Disqualification Match: Kane vs. John Cena

I’m pretty sure their 2012 “Embrace the Hate” feud won my Johnny Award for Worst Feud that year. Just saying.

Kane worked over Cena with punches early on. Fans chanted “Undertaker” leading to Kane slapping on a chinlock. Way to take advantage of those No DQ rules. Cena tried to lift Kane up, but he collapsed. Kane punched Cena a few times, Cena fought back with punches of his own and Kane whipped Cena into the steel steps as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

The fight went into the crowd with Kane hitting a suplex on a steel guard rail that was bent after Cena landed on it. They went back to the ringside area with Kane still in control. Kane removed a turnbuckle pad while Cena sat up like The Undertaker. Cena with two shoulder tackles, a weak looking belly to back suplex and a Five Knuckle Shuffle connected for Cena. Cena sent Kane into the exposed steel turnbuckle. Cena did an Undertaker-like throat slash. Cena hit a Chokeslam although it looked different because he went down to the mat with Kane. Cena set up a table in the ring. Kane got back to his feet. Cena picked Kane up, but Kane tipped over the table and Cena went down. Kane sent Cena up against the turnbuckle. Kane whipped Cena into the table, so Cena went crashing through the table. That drew a good reaction from the crowd. Kane covered for a two count. Kane brought another table into the ring and Kane set it up. Cena slowly got back to his feet. Cena avoided a Chokeslam and countered with an Attitude Adjustment through the table. Cena covered for the win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: John Cena

Analysis: **1/4 It was an average match from two guys that have wrestled a lot. I remember seeing them at a house show several years ago where they did almost every one of the same spots except for the suplex on the guardrail. The table spots were the same. There wasn’t much of a reaction to anything Kane did because the fans knew that he had no chance of winning. If I never see Cena vs. Kane again that would be great.

Cena was in the ring victorious while Kane went to the back.

Cena grabbed the microphone: “No lightning? No bells of terror? No Undertaker?” Cena said this was a match with no rules, anything can happen and anybody can be there. Cena asked: “Where are you?” Cena yelled: “Undertaker.” Fans chanted “Undertaker” as Cena held the microphone up in the air.

Cena looked into the camera saying I know you’re not deaf, you’re just a coward. Cena said that night after night, city after city, they chant your name. The fans slowly got another “Undertaker” chant going. Cena said it’s either a “yes” or “no” and fans chanted “yes” for that. Cena told Undertaker to listen to the energy when they chant “yes” and “Undertaker” for him. Cena was frustrated as he said for him to do something. Cena: “Do something because now you only have one week left, one week that sums up your entire career – you can do something or you can do nothing. If you do nothing, you let me down, you let Kane down, but most importantly you made it crystal clear to every single person that ever believed in The Undertaker that you do not care about them – you care only about yourself.” Cena said he hopes he sees The Undertaker next week.

Cena left as replays aired of Cena doing The Undertaker sit up and throat slash. Cena walked up the ramp and that was the end of Raw at 11:05pmET with Cena making another throat slash gesture to the camera.

Analysis: It was like Cena’s promo last week. The promo from two weeks ago was a lot better. The story will be about whether The Undertaker shows up next week or if he at least answers the challenge with his superpowers. It’s obvious that Cena vs. Undertaker is happening, so it’s a matter of whether they have Taker answer the challenge next week or only have him show up at WrestleMania. I think they would have to make it official next week. Waiting until WrestleMania seems like too much.

Good job by Cena making the Undertaker face to end the show.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Brock Lesnar
  2. Roman Reigns
  3. John Cena

 

The Scoreboard

4.5 out of 10

Last week: 5.5

2018 Average: 5.92

Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 6, 5, 6.5, 8

2018 High: 8 (February 19)

2018 Low: 4.5 (March 26)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 4.5 out of 10.

It was a poor show this week. There just wasn’t enough excitement in the ring or promos. I don’t think there was anything on the show that I would recommend to anybody that missed it because it was uneventful. I think it’s a case of WWE wanting to save some of the bigger segments for next week’s last Raw before WrestleMania. Because of that, this week’s show suffered.

The fans in Cleveland paid a lot of money to witness a boring show. Sorry fans.

The next WWE PPV is WrestleMania 34 on April 8. Here’s what we know so far.

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins

United States Championship: Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode

Raw Tag Team Championships: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Braun Strowman and ???

Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax

Andre the Giant Men’s Battle Royal

WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali

The other matches will be Cena vs. Undertaker, Zayn/Owens vs. Daniel Bryan and a partner most likely and whatever the Smackdown Tag Team Title match will be. That’s 14 matches.

That’s all for this week. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

Go Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook